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Hume's persistence praised

A FOUNDING member of the SDLP has came to the defence of former party leader John Hume after recently released state papers revealed that the head of the NIO had called him "politically bankrupt" during a multi-party conference held in the USA in 1985.

The files released by the Public Record Office in Belfast last week gave details of a multi-party conference at Airlie House in Virginia in January 1985 which was attended by the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Ken Bloomfield.

During the conference Mr Bloomfield delivered a report to then secretary of state Douglas Hurd.

While the report spoke in glowing terms of the present DUP leader Peter Robinson it was disparaging about the former Foyle MP John Hume, above left.

Mr Bloomfield reported that the Nobel peace prize winner is "normally in his element in the United States where he is widely regarded as occupying a position somewhere between Charles Stewart Parnell and Mother Teresa. "On this occasion he gave a chilling impression of political bankruptcy, rather like a man who has lost a fortune by backing a particular number consistently at the roulette table and continues to stare at that number even though he no longer has a stake to play." Denis Haughey, left, who worked as a personal advisor to Mr Hume defended his former party leader saying: "There are not many with Ken Bloomfield's intellect and experience who would have compared someone like Peter Robinson so favourably and in such glowing terms to a man like John Hume. "One can only assume that he abandoned all other considerations in seeking to politically influence Douglas Hurd. "Perhaps he actually foresaw that the persistence of Hume and the taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald would lead to a wider and more balanced settlement which unionists might find very uncomfortable indeed."

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